What's the Deal with P.E.I. Mussels?

Mark Bittman brought up the issue of P.E.I. mussels on his blog a few weeks ago and it got us thinking about this particular shellfish. We often see P.E.I. mussels proudly displayed at seafood counters and have wondered what makes them so special. And what the heck does PEI stand for anyway?!

We'll spare you the guesswork and suspense! "P.E.I." stands for Prince Edward Island, which is where these particular mussels come from. The ocean climate and tidal patterns in this area are conducive to raising mussels, and in the past several years, Prince Edward Island has become one of the primary providers of fresh mussels in North America.

One of the biggest selling points for P.E.I. mussels is that they are consistently good. We don't claim to be mussel experts, but we find that these mussels are sweet and tender, and they are equally great cooked simply in white wine or in more complex sauces. They tend to be mid-sized with shells the length of your finger and a plump morsel of meat inside.

Our only problem with P.E.I. mussels is that they have gained such a reputation for being "the best" that they can sometimes crowd out other smaller or more local varieties.

What's been your experience of P.E.I. mussels? Have you come across another variety that you like better?

The Best Mussels? From Mark Bittman via Bitten

Related: Survey: How Do You Eat Mussels?

(Image: Lobster Gram)